What is Baby Led Weaning?
Baby led weaning is a method of weaning babies onto solid foods. At around halfway through a baby's first year (although this can vary widely), many are ready to begin exploring solid food in addition to milk. Commonly weaning is introduced by spoonfeeding pureed food and gradually increasing the texture, until the baby is eating whole food. Baby led weaning skips this process and recognises that babies can handle whole foods from the very start, when they have the ability to feed themselves.
Baby led weaned babies lead pace with the weaning process. The parent follows their cues and allows the baby to eat when, how much and what they like. Much like breastfeeding on demand, this encourages baby to follow their natural appetite and hunger cues, encouraging a healthy attitude to eating.
NOTE: Baby led weaning is often confused with, or seen as promoting, premature weaning from the breast. The term ‘weaning’ is the process of gradually introducing solid foods, which slowly replaces milk. When allowed to take place naturally the process can take years. Regarding breastfeeding, weaning begins when a baby has his first taste of solid foods and ends when he has his last breastfeed. The term ‘baby led weaning’ does not negate natural weaning. Baby led weaning is a way of weaning ON to solid food, regardless of what that means they are being weaned off.